For this Deep Tech Dive, I interviewed Derick Bedzra, Chief Scientist and Leader of the Monumental Ontological Nature Augmented Reality Technology (MONART) Smart City Initiative. Derick is an engineer and visionary from Accra, Ghana developing the blueprint and laying the foundation for a smart city in Botswana. He also acts as CTO of the blockchain company QEYS, where they are building wearable technology that’s supported by DeFi protocols.
- Africa has certainly faced its fair share of challenges in the past centuries. She’s young, but these new generations are bright and hungry to innovate a decentralized future that takes power away from the centralized institutions and leaders that have failed them time and time again. We are currently witnessing that disruption, so expect Africa to be leap-frogging to the advanced infrastructure of cohesive governance and technology.
- Collective consciousness is the ability of a group of people to be able to communicate and create a society where access to information is seamless. It is a necessary foundation to establish to build an intentional community.
- The Kardashev Scale is a theory to measure civilization’s technological prowess based on the amount of energy that is available for them to harness.
“Design is ontological in that all design-led objects, tools, and even services bring about particular ways of being, knowing, and doing.” — Arturo Escobar
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
Can you tell me about yourself and your background?
This is always a hard question to answer because I’m still on the journey of finding myself and that journey never ends. After all, the persona of self is a big sea of understanding and overstanding. I’m excited about uncovering a truth that I believe humanity has lost touch with, one that is evenly distributed across the universe but requires a consensus collective action to uncover. Professionally, I work as an independent Data Scientist on projects intended to contribute to the advancement in open science technology.
I studied Information Technology at Ghana Technology University College, advancing into Data Communication and Computer Programming. My studies gave me the ability and bandwidth to perform in the fields of data analysis, computer architecture, and AI/ML. I also have interests in blockchain, biomimicry, and quantum technologies. Currently, I am working on a post-quantum technology that will support the development and evolution of natural language processing (NLP).
I’m just a guy who is looking to use the tools readily available to me to create an environment that supports the evolution of human civilization, so I can create ecosystems of collective consciousness. I’m always open to learning from others about the mysteries of our minds and things we all have in common.
How did you come to be the leader of the MONART Smart City Initiative?
The MONART dream started about 2 years ago when I recognized patterns in how the world relates to nature and vice versa. When I say “the world” I’m talking about the entire human race not just white, black, Gay, Trans, or any other dualities humans have grouped themselves into. I’m referring to the total population living and experiencing consciousness in their vessels. When I say “nature” I mean every living thing that came into being, from terrestrial to extraterrestrial, including the heavenly bodies (Sun, Moon, planets).
The vision for MONART city was comprised of ethical designs and frameworks modeled to create an ecosystem built on the foundations of trust, ontology, and awareness. A way to direct the habitats of this ecoverse towards building a non-corruptible sense of completion and worthiness where each individual has a say in the forward initiatives of the community. To my surprise, a lot of people have already started creating these types of intentional communities that promote collective mechanisms that foster unity and togetherness. This gives me a lot of hope for humanity because I believe we need to return to the source when we were unified as one. Back when we paid homage to nature.
I believe the natural design of this world gives us so many opportunities to create something unique. Transcendental to a point in time where intelligence is truly achieved. Not based of humans’ understanding of this world but of the natural laws and mechanisms in place which open new cognitive processes of understanding, that make it easier for us to better relate with ourselves and the earth.
When you say, “people have already started creating these types of intentional communities,” who are you referring to?
These groups of people have realized and agreed on the basis that the current systems that exist in the world do not support their beliefs of how humans should live. They have developed norms that they live by and these norms take their effects when the individuals put themselves in the position to experience true communal life.
What is your framework for this smart city?
Humans, Design, and World.
Cities can’t exist without people but people can exist without cities, so why is it such a big deal for us to live in cities? Anyways, at this point, a lot of cities are aiming to title themselves “smart”, with some promising dreams of a utopia that doesn’t take into account the reality of the people.
In my world, I believe everything we can be in contact with, both conscious or unconscious, has the desired effect on us which in turn changes the way we think and live. Therefore, I have to take into account the physical, spiritual or psychological needs of the people.
The framework for this city is not fixed on how things will be better in this city compared to others in terms of infrastructure, technology, or resources but how things can become better within ourselves. Every action we take is an embodiment of collective responsibility to understand that our civilization needs to become aware of how much we haven’t changed, that we are evolving statically because we fail to see above ourselves and our sense of “I being” instead of “We being”. The entire city’s design, structure, and operation is carefully taken inspiration from ontology, to give humans tools to design a better world.
What are some major milestones you’ve hit for MONART?
MONART City is still in its early days of development. However, we are on the verge of starting a pilot project to test out the first framework. We have accomplished most of the foundational work required to make this project actually come to life. We plan to be welcoming 50,000 individuals (Monartians ) into an ecoverse equipped with an agile infrastructure that fosters collective growth, inclusion, equality, innovation, and naturing regenerative lifestyle. We have identified Botswana (Ghanzi in the Kalahari Region) composing of 5 locations equating to 275,002 ha (or 679,557 acres), of which are the processes of evaluation and appraisal.
We are also working on products that help smooth transitions into the city through wearable technologies, p2p internet, and community-centric data modeling applications. For distributed energy, we are constructing solar-powered servers which will provide wireless internet.
We are excited for what has yet to come because it’s a promising future but the brick to mold is with every one of us. Imagine the deep reverence of what collective power can do, and just extend that to what our thoughts towards building this future will do if you and I can make this happen in our divine likeness.
How can others help with this initiative?
Anybody can contribute to the success of this project. First, do some research in the field of building co-habiting spaces, intentional communities, sustainable ecosystems with supportive structures for growth, etc. Second, reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about the open positions for the project, especially if you have a background in deep tech advisory fields. If you are working on a project that can be deployed into cities with forwarding initiatives such as this let’s connect.
What is Qeys about?
QEYS is a protocol merging blockchain and AI, enabling us to navigate across the decentralized and centralized ecosystems. We are building secure alternatives ways for payments, identity authentication, and access that work for our interests. Built by us, to work for us. QEYS provides the end-user greater autonomy, so they can access the internet securely without compromising their data.
The QEYS project is set to launch operations in August, and pre-orders for the wearable device will start then. If you are interested, you can look up the project at https://qeys-inc.com/.
What do you do as CTO of QEYS?
I work on bringing progressive ideas, contribute to R&D, and support my team by examining the short and long-term needs of the organization in close association with the CEO and Founder. I help foster better relations to improve strategy, product, security & compliance, and engineering.
What is Energy Consumers Network Foundation about?
Energy Consumers Network (ECON) Foundation is a social impact program that creates a domain to educate the world about energy consumption. The amount of energy we use is what determines how much power/work can be done. And not being aware of it can become very disastrous. According to the Kardashev Scale, which was devised in 1964 by a Soviet Astronomer, Nikolai Kardashev, is a theory developed on how to size up civilization. A hypothetical scale for measuring a civilization’s technological prowess based on the amount of energy that is available for them to harness. My goal with this program is to awaken people’s minds to become more resilient and attentive towards their energy consumption and create systems that make sure we are energy conscious.
What do you mean by harnessing collective consciousness?
This is the ability of a group of people to be able to communicate and create a society where access to information is seamless. Where every aspect of that communication is based on foundations of maintaining an agreeable cultural perspective of said society or community. To which they harness the power of true communication to attend to needs and matters that drive their foreseeable future.
The following are things to consider when building for collective consciousness:
- Co-creation: Where the input from the customer plays a central role in the product or service design. The business allows consumers to submit ideas, which keeps the firm innovative and helps strengthen the business relationship between the firm and its consumers. This is how we want it to be for our new ecoverse, as a new branch of human civilization that is not superior in the ability to cause disaster or to disband current systems. Rather, a group of individuals who are taking a bold step to save the remainder of dignity that exists for the human civilization.
- Green Inventory/Innovation: All forms of innovation that minimize environmental damage and ensure that natural resources are used effectively. It’s a process that improves a company’s competitiveness, economic and environmental performance, whilst reducing energy use, waste recycling, pollution control, resource sustainability, and encouraging green product design. Green innovation usually distinguishes itself from non-green innovations as it has the following characteristics,
- Nature Augmented Reality: Nature of being is a conversation that is happening every second we take a breath, it’s the building blocks of what we exist on, permissible dimensions. Nature exists in a captive audience of humans who can contribute to their own lives by just following its natural paths that have already been carved out, not by adding to the already existing complexity.
- Biomimicry: The emulation of models, systems, and elements of nature to solve complex human problems. Organisms have evolved into well-adapted structures and materials over long geological time through natural selection. The careful attention paid to this phenomenon has given rise to new technologies inspired by biological solutions at macro and nanoscales. Humans have looked at nature for answers to problems throughout our existence, whilst nature at its best has solved engineering problems such as self-healing abilities, environmental exposure tolerance and resistance, hydrophobicity, self-assembly, and harnessing solar energy. I believe we are at an age that this knowledge can be taken more seriously in all design processes to eliminate the complexity introduced by the human ego in the cosmo.
There are a lot of remarkable African entrepreneurs, like yourself but we don’t hear about them too often till they become big. How do you think stakeholders in the tech ecosystem can help shed light on the good work being done and help fuel further innovation in African countries?
I agree with you, the continent has an overflowing population of vibrant youths most of whom shifting into entrepreneurship, and making a positive impact on and in their countries. The problem that is stifling innovation, is the failure of the institutions the citizens have placed their trust in to provide structures that support national development.
However, this isn’t stopping Africa and I’m convinced we won’t be left behind. This continent is the largest for the fastest-growing mobile economy and most of the population average is at a youthful age. And I want every African to be aware of that!
We are the future of the world’s next greatest paradigm. We have yet to see the advancements that will unfold in education, information & communications technology (ICT), energy, infrastructure, healthcare, ontological governance, finance, and so forth. Also, it doesn’t end in Africa, these innovations follow wherever the melanin goes. Things are beginning to change with investors that are more focused on contributing to open science.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can contact me through my email (email@example.com) and WhatsApp (+233543698348). The websites for my projects are under construction till we launch. We still have to get all studies and foundational structure for the city laid out, but till then if it’s urgent you can reach out to me on my Twitter or Discord.